The biodiversity graph in ‘bars’

Climate change gets all the attention, but at least as problematic is Biodiversity loss, if not even more dramatic. After all, we ourselves are one of those endangered species….

That there is less attention, Miles Richardson thought, also lies in profiling, and a visualization of the problem that could catch on internationally could help. And create attention.

And he just went to work: could you also create such a stripes or bars graph of biodiversity loss just like for climate, he wondered. Some databases with data were not even that hard to find, Organizations like the World Wildlife Fund have been collecting data of trends among species for years. And he went to work, and was done in a few evenings. See, it can be that simple sometimes, to make things visible, and discussable. I love that. Hence I am going to quote from his work here, and show some examples, taken from the website where he presents some of it. Intended to make that work and the problem more widely known again.[1][2] Of course all credits to Richardson:

So, I’ve been hoping to see a biodiversity version of the stripes for a couple of years. After  only finding a pair of biodiversity striped socks online, and encouraged by Ed’s support ( Ed Hawkins, the one that composed the climate stripes graph) , I set out to find some suitable historical data and create some biodiversity stripes”

Which revealed this picture:


Global Bio Stripes 1970 to 2016 – Data: Living Planet Index

By the way, just for the record, there is not necessarily a correlation between climate graph and biodiversity graph, you cannot one to one blame one directly on the other. Although there is certainly mutual influence and connection. More details on how the graph is constructed on the respective websites.

Once you get up to speed, you can then start varying or detailing on that theme, and that teaches some wonderfully insightful graphs. Like this one:


Global Bio Stripes with birds – Data: Living Planet Index

Or the data for a specific region, like here for central and south America, in the form of a toucan:


Latin Bio Stripes – Data: Living Planet Index

Or the stripes for a specific subset of biodiversity, like here for for freshwater fish:


Freshwater Bio Stripes – Data: Living Planet Index

to end with a combination of the two stripes pictures, climate and biodiversity:


A world that changes from colorful to red and gray.

As said there is not necessarily a correlative relationship. But it is clear that the way we are currently trying to combat 1 consequence of our way of life, i.e. climate change, is leading to a huge increase in technology  and therfor material consumption, and an increase in pollution and depletion of resources and land, which does not help biodiversity, to say the least…


[1] Richardson:

and meanwhile there is a dedicated website with more data and variants:


Author: ronald rovers